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Belfast Girls

This is the story of Mairéad Mc Ilkenny and Christine Savage, growing up in post-war Belfast. Two strong, young women with their everyday life struggles, living as in different worlds in the same city, cut off from each other by many high walls. A film about two girls struggle for the right to do things their own way.

Mairéad is 20 years old and has grown up in a Catholic enclave.

She stands looking out over her home, seeing all the walls around her. Childhood memories of brutal arrests of her father at night and a constant fear for her life mix with wonderings what the “other side” looks like. She has never gotten to know a Protestant in her entire life – until the day her flatmate starts a new relationship. Suddenly “the other side” has moved into her house.

Christine is Protestant and walks on the other side of the walls with her pram and young daughter. She is 18 years old and wishes most of all that her baby will have more choices when she grows up.

Christine dreams about a house of her own and a boy to love. When she finally finds him – he’s a Catholic.

Swedish director Malin Andersson follows the lives of these young women. Barbed wire and sandbags from the early days of the war in Northern Ireland have long since become permanent walls. The “peacewalls” keep the two communities apart creating divisions as brutal as ever, nearly a decade into the peace process. The legacy to the young generation is clear. You don’t mix.

Read more about Directors

Malin Andersson studied Documentary film directing at the Nordic Documentary Filmschool, Biskops-Arnö and the University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre Stockholm, Sweden.She divides her time between Malmoe, Sweden and Ireland and has previously worked with acclaimed Swedish directors Christoph Michold, Per Carleson and Stefan Jarl.

This is her debut film.


Production info

Title: Belfast Girls

Genre: Documentary. Society. Politics.

Production year: 2004 – 2006

Length: 52, 58 min and 60 min


Director: Malin Andersson

Producers: Fredrik Gertten

Editor: Erik Bäfving

With support from: The Swedish Film Institute – Hjalmar Palmgren, Nordisk Film & TV Fond –  Eva Færevaag, Centre National de la Cinèmatographie, Procirep


DocLounge Malmö, Malmö, Sweden 2006

Women’s Film Festival, Skånska Filmdagarna, Malmö, Sweden 2007

International 1001 Documentary Film Festival, Istanbul, Turkey 2007

One World, Bratislava, Slovakien 2007